You don’t often see common rue (Ruta graveolens) in gardens these days, which is kind of sad, because it is a very pretty plant. It grows in bushy clumps of woody-based stems—typically 2 to 3 feet tall once well established—with deeply cut, powder-blue, powerfully scented foliage that’s beautifully complemented by the yellow summer flowers. While being very ornamental, it has long been classified as a herb for various medicinal uses. I don’t recommend eating it, though, and you should also be careful working around the plant out in the garden, because there’s a possibility of developing severe blistering on your skin if you get the foliage oil on your skin and then expose it to sunlight. So why would you even grow it? Well, as I said, it’s a really nice ever-blue foliage accent, and it looks good as an informal edging plant or as part of a traditional herb garden. And, it is a host plant for the larvae of black swallowtail and giant swallowtail butterflies. Just remember to wear gloves when you give the stems a spring trim (or wash with soap and water right away), and keep it away from sites where an unwary child or other garden visitor might touch it. Full sun to light shade. Woody-based perennial; Zones 4 or 5 to 8 or 9.
2023-collected seeds are sold out. I hope to collect again in August 2024. At least 15 seeds. Shipping to US addresses only.
Please read the germination information as well before ordering.